Music Education students have the fourth highest course load

Music Education students take the fourth highest course load at BYU with 93 credit hours and graduate with music and teaching expertise.

The music education major gives students a license to teach music in the K-12 classroom. There are four different accents offered at BYU: choir, general music, strings and orchestra.

Victoria Dixon and Nathan Seamons celebrate at the end of BYU Wind Symphony’s 2021 Fall Semester Concert on December 9, 2021. Seamons is the Symphony Band’s conductor and a faculty member of the Education Instrumental Ensemble musical. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Dixon)

“I think the most fundamental way to understand this is really that there are two majors involved in this major. You have to be an expert in music and you have to be an expert in teaching,” said music education teacher Paul Broomhead.

Broomhead said his class MUSIC 176: Careers in Music Education is designed to provide a clear picture of what a career in music education is really about. Students use this course to “assess their compatibility with the profession” and determine whether to apply. The class also helps students with the application process.

“Those who decide to apply, I give them a bit of coaching on how to be successful in the application process,” Broomhead said.

According to Broomhead, applying music education is a rigorous process. The app focuses on five areas: Teaching Personality, Musicality, Academics, Teaching Experience, and Leadership Experience.

Students must submit a 10-minute video of themselves teaching four people a musical concept and a video of them playing their main instrument. They must also audition for the studio of their choice. The school then reviews GPA and asks students to write an 800-1000 word essay about their motivation to participate in the music education program. Finally, students must also pass an interview with the faculty.

“We’re really serious about this,” Broomhead said. “We are prepared to invest a lot of time in each candidate in order to know this person as well as possible before deciding whether or not they are admitted to our program.”

The trumpet section of the symphony group celebrates during their end-of-semester concert, “BYU Wind Symphony: Winter Celebration.” Music Education students must audition and be part of the studio of their choice. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Dixon)

Once admitted to the program, music education students share lessons with music performance and education students. They are also required to learn all of the instruments under their teaching umbrella as well as some of the other accents.

“There are a lot of things I need to learn to get this degree,”Victoria Dixon, a BYU junior with an instrumental accent, said. “If BYU took away a required class, they would take away the teaching skills I would need. Although the credits are few, they are very rewarding and it is very useful to have so many.

Spencer Baldwin, a BYU sophomore in choral emphasis, knew he wanted to be a choir teacher since he was in junior high where he participated in orchestra, choir and theater. Although he already has a year under his belt, Baldwin said he will be at BYU for another four years.

“There’s so much to do,” Baldwin said. He said the fun thing about being a music student is you’ll have a classical singing lesson with an expectation of nine hours of practice and a 45 minute lesson, but that only counts as a 1 lesson. .5 credit.

Many courses in the Music Education major are one-credit courses, but require in-class and out-of-class practice time. Baldwin said it can sometimes be difficult to manage all the homework and exercises he has to do throughout the week, but he understands that’s how it is.

Dixon hopes people know how long music teachers have to put in, the time they spend and the dedication it takes. She understands that her major has a bad reputation for being a failing for those “afraid to be an artist” or those who “won’t make money.” For her, however, it is not like that at all.

“Everyone I know in the music education program is there because they love it and because they want to help people and serve people,” Dixon said.

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